Efforts to repeal the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy suffered a major setback on Tuesday as senators failed to end debate on the annual defense-policy bill by a vote of 56 to 43. This vote does not end efforts to lift the military's 17-year ban on gays serving openly in uniform, but it does make it more difficult to ensure that a repeal is included in the final House-Senate compromise version of the defense bill that lawmakers will vote on during a lame-duck session after November's midterm elections. Gay-rights advocates vow to keep applying pressure to senators. Some moderate Republicans said that they are waiting to review a Pentagon study of how repealing the ban might impact troop readiness and morale before making a decision. The study is due to President Obama and senior military leaders on Dec. 1. Other senators, like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who supports repealing "Don't ask," disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid's decision to restrict the number of amendments to the bill. If the Democrats had pushed the vote through earlier, which they should have done, then there wouldn't be this time issue. Why would Reid further complicate repealing the ban by allowing only three amendments, all of which have to do with furthering Democratic objectives? Ever heard of the phrase "strategic thinking"? Let both sides get it all out, attach amendments and repeal the ban. It looks like Reid self-sabotaged. This is yet another headache for the Obama administration, which promised to repeal the policy. We're not sure how Obama is going to deliver on that promise, when he can't count on members of his own party to be strategic in getting this repeal done or on moderate Republicans who supposedly support the repeal to insist on a vote.
Read more at The Washington Post.